You may have heard of a Life Extinct form or Verification of Death form, depending on which state you live in. These are alternatives to a death certificate to initially certify the death of an individual, which can allow medical staff, funeral directors, mortuary staff or police to move or transport the deceased.

What is a Declaration of Life Extinct form?

If medical personnel are unable to write up a death certificate, other responsible persons can complete a Life Extinct form instead, which acts in place of a death certificate. It is an important document that serves as an official record of the person’s death, and may be required for eventually obtaining a death certificate.

A Declaration of Life Extinct form may have different names depending on where you live in Australia.

  • In Victoria and New South Wales, the form is known as a Verification of Death form.
  • In the Australian Capital Territory, it is known as a Life Extinct Certificate.
  • In Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, it is known as a Declaration of Life Extinct form.

Who completes the Declaration of Life Extinct form?

Only ‘responsible persons’ can complete a Life Extinct form. These include:

  • Health care clinician
  • Registered nurse
  • Paramedic or ambulance officer
  • Police officer

How is the Declaration of Life Extinct form used?

Regardless of whether a death is expected or a reportable death, when a death occurs and a medical practitioner is not present to complete a death certificate or Medical Cause of Death Form, a Life Extinct form must be completed by a health centre clinician. 

The Life Extinct Form provides a checklist for the clinical determination of death, details of the clinician determining death and related information. A copy of the Life Extinct Form must accompany the body and be forwarded to the medical practitioner (not required for reportable deaths).

Medical staff, funeral directors, mortuary staff or police can use these forms to certify the death. They can then move or transport the deceased, and there is a record on how the death occurred so a death certificate can be written up at a later time.

The process of completing the Declaration of Life Extinct form.

It is a relatively simple form; the responsible person will need the following information.

  • Name, address and date of birth.
  • What category the death falls into, e.g. healthcare, suspicious death, violent death, unknown cause etc.
  • Whether the death was obvious, or the person has checked breath, pulse and heart.
  • The responsible person’s certification e.g. medical practitioner, nurse, paramedic or police officer.

Common errors when completing the Declaration of Life Extinct form.

Healthcare professionals and police officers should not struggle to complete the Declaration of Life Extinct form. One of the most common errors is failing to provide enough detail about the individual’s identity, such as their full name, date of birth, and address. If you are the next of kin, you can ensure the responsible person fills in the correct details.

The medical professional or responsible person present for the death should be able to explain any next steps to family or next of kin, including starting the process of getting a death certificate.

Read more: How to get a death certificate and certify a death. 

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